The Deadly Truth About Accutane (Roaccutane)

So we all know that shocking headlines draw eyeballs. And before I started writing this post, I thought (or at least hoped) that “the deadly truth” in this title was mainly for effect, a figure of speech. Until I started digging deeper.

“From 1982 to May 2000, the FDA received hundreds of reports linking isotretinoin use to depression, including 37 suicides, 110 hospitalizations for depression or suicidal behavior” (source: https://www.drugwatch.com/accutane/)

* For those of you lucky enough to have avoided accutane, isotretinoin is the the deadly (and this time you know I’m not exaggerating) ingredient of accutane.

Okay, so 147 might not seem exceedingly high, at least considering the total number of people who possibly took accutane during that period of time. These are extreme cases. And one can always argue that there are other factors to be taken into consideration when a tragedy like that happens.

How about the less extreme (and definitely common) cases, then? If you’ve battled with acne, you’re probably more familiar with names like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinol than you’d rather be. And you’ve probably heard of accutane, or even know that it’s considered the last resort in treating acne. And the reason, or more correctly, the many reasons for that are:

birth defects, serious mental problems such as depression, psychosis and suicide, red, cracked, and sore lips, dry skin, eyes, mouth, or nose, nosebleeds, changes in skin color, peeling skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, changes in the nails, slowed healing of cuts or sores, bleeding or swollen gums, hair loss or unwanted hair growth, sweating, flushing, voice changes, tiredness, cold symptoms, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, slow or difficult speech, weakness or numbness of one part or side of the body, stomach pain, chest pain, difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing, new or worsening heartburn, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark colored urine, back, bone, joint or muscle pain, muscle weakness, difficulty hearing, ringing in the ears, vision problems, painful or constant dryness of the eyes, unusual thirst, frequent urination, trouble breathing, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat, red, swollen, itchy, or teary eyes, fever, rash, peeling or blistering skin, especially on the legs, arms, or face, sores in the mouth, throat, nose, or eyes, red patches or bruises on the legs, swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing.

I wish I had an easier time choosing which of the above to highlight, but honestly, I would highlight all of them if it doesn’t defeat the purpose. Just thinking about these rather serious medical conditions people have to put themselves at risk for just to have clear skin makes my head spin.

There has got to be a better way!

And there is! There are so many things you can do to help your skin clear up – correct understanding of acne, lifestyle choices, and picking the right products – none of which involves worrying about bald spots or losing control of your motor skills.

Stay tuned for more great tips about acne, skin health, beauty and more


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